Ben Arnold is looking to expand his Corporate Caterers of Wichita . "Our main goal was just to build a building," he says.
But with the current state of commercial lending, he says, "There's absolutely no way."
Arnold now has 8,700 square feet at Douglas and West Street.
He's looking at taking 3,400 square feet that Accent Bridal & Tux is vacating two doors down. (It's moving to Delano.)
But Arnold wants more.
"We're trying to put a deal together," he says.
That wasn't Arnold's original first choice of locales, though. He wanted downtown or the east side.
He found a couple of places he likes downtown, but he didn't like the parking situation.
"That's really the beef."
The east side also was top on his list.
"There are so many buildings over there right now, it's just unbelievable."
Among other places, he's looked at the space where Olive Tree Bistro and Chelsea's Bar and Grill are being evicted. He's also looked at Piccadilly Market & Grill , another Latour Management restaurant that may be moving, at Central and Rock Road. Arnold says prices are too high, though.
"I would much prefer to be on the east side," he says.
But prices out west are a third less, he says, so, "There's not as much pressure to perform."
Banquet space is key for Arnold.
"If you have one banquet hall, you increase your income by ... 25 percent," he says.
That's what he has now.
But with two, he says, he could increase his business by 60 percent.
"The banquet halls bring you a lot of business because there's not enough of them in town," Arnold says.
Look for him to make a final decision early in the new year. At this point, it's likely to be expansion where he is.
"Obviously, that would be the best scenario because I'm already here."
Bay Leaf for sale
After two years in business, Becca Thomas would like to sell her Bay Leaf Cafe at Clifton Square .
"We've had a really great run," she says. "It's been quite successful. I've made a lot of great friends."
Thomas wants to return to school for a zoo science degree and then pursue work out of state at an aquarium.
Her mother and business partner, Paula Amos , is an artist and interior designer and wants to focus on that instead of the restaurant.
So Thomas says they want to "let somebody else come in and have some fun with it."
The 1,400-square-foot restaurant, which is where Everyday Gourmet once was, seats 50 people inside and another 40 on the patio.
Thomas has lunch Tuesday through Saturday and live music on the weekends.
"The live music has been phenomenal," she says.
At one point, she offered dinner, too, but no longer does.
"Our plan is to stay open and keep on trucking until it sells," Thomas says.
"I'm really grateful to everybody supporting me here. It's something I'll never forget."
When his career in the mortgage industry ended a year ago, Greg Helms and his wife, Annette , started looking at different business opportunities.
Greg Helms is a Wichita native. His wife is from California, and that's where they were living.
But when they looked at buying a restaurant franchise, nothing seemed as appealing as returning to Wichita and buying Ty's Diner . So that's what they did.
"It's old school, and it kind of fit our personality," Greg Helms says.
The popular hamburger spot is at 928 W. Second St.
Other than taking care of what Helms calls a few eyesores, he and his wife don't plan to do anything differently at Ty's.
That's on the advice of customers.
"They just say, 'Don't change a thing.' "
You don't say
"I am sorry that your computer did not meet requirements for the H1N1 vaccine. ... It may not return to service until fever has resolved for at least 24 hours!"
—Newton Medical Center infection control nurse Michelle Starks' response to an e-mail from payroll about a computer being down because of a virus